Pittsburgh, Pa. – March 1, 2021 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy announced today the permanent protection of a 100-acre property in Penn Township, Clearfield County through a donated conservation easement from Jane McCartney, a Sister of Mercy.

This Donated Conservation Easement on Land in Clearfield County Protects Water Quality, Forestland in the West Branch Susquehanna River BasinThe property is bordered by approximately 6,000 feet of stream frontage along Bell Run, a tributary in the headwaters of the West Branch Susquehanna River. The stream has conservation significance as it supports naturally reproducing populations of trout, which require a healthy cold water habitat. The PA Fish and Boat Commission has designated it as Wild Trout Waters.

Sr. McCartney’s donated conservation easement ensures the permanent protection of this land, which safeguards the mostly forested riparian area along the run that is dominated by native eastern hemlocks. The forest’s northern and southern portions includes mixed hardwoods and the middle has thick stands of pine and hemlock. Water quality and scenic views from public roads are also now protected.

This donated conservation easement, the first for WPC from a private landowner in Clearfield County, legally restricts future subdivision and development on the land. Sr. McCartney grew up exploring the property’s woods and swinging from its grape vines; her father purchased the property approximately 50 years ago with the intent to keep the forest and stream buffer intact in perpetuity. She is glad to permanently protect her family’s homestead – giving the land back to nature and fulfilling her father’s wish.

“This was important for me to do because of my family connection to this land and the Sisters of Mercy commitment to care for the Earth,” she adds. “Our order makes personal and community choices and advocates to ensure the right to water for everyone and to do all we can to address the climate change crisis. This act of stewardship is my way of giving to future generations of wildlife and people.”

According to Conservancy President and CEO Thomas Saunders, the property’s location along a headwaters tributary of the West Branch Susquehanna River makes it a conservation priority for the Conservancy.

“This donation of a conservation easement permanently protects this beautiful property,” says Saunders. “We are glad this streamside property and forest is now protected, and greatly appreciate Sr. McCartney’s generosity and conservation ethic.”

Since the 1970s, the Conservancy has permanently protected thousands of acres of land through conservation easements. For more information about conservation options to protect land, please contact the Conservancy at 412-288-2777 or info@paconserve.org.


About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish 11 state parks, conserved more than a quarter million acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, which is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List and symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 132 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of more than 3,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 9,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org or Fallingwater.org.

Media Contact:
Carmen Bray
Director of Communications for WPC